California is developing a supply chain strategy to help ports, trucking and the railroads, according to Trelynd Bradley, a Deputy Director with California Governor Gavin Newsom’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz). Bradley responded to a series of questions posed by AJOT explaining how California has developed a strategy to combat the supply chain crisis.
AJOT: Can you discuss what California has done to ease congestion at California ports?
Bradley: “California has supported the easing of congestion at ports in a myriad of ways. California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA), California Department of Transportation (CALTRANS), GO-Biz and California Department of General Services (DGS) all responded to the Governor’s Executive Order to identify and provide access for sites to ease congestion. There are multiple state-owned lands across the state now open for storage of excess containers and export staging. GO-Biz, with the support of local economic development partners, also identified and evaluated over thirty private sector sites to share with supply chain partners.
CALTRANS began issuing temporary permits to allow trucks to carry heavier loads (up to 88,000 pounds) on the state highway and Interstate routes between the Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, and other statewide ports, and distribution centers throughout the state. These permits are available through December 31.
The DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) nearly doubled its capacity to issue commercial driver’s license tests to help address the shortage of drivers in the industry.
The State has worked one-on-one with ports on identifying opportunities to align state funding and resources to ease congestion. Many of these opportunities will manifest in the future, both as a result of the Governor’s Executive Order and a historic investment in our supply chain ecosystem in the most recent enacted state budget.
Examples include: $1.2 billion for high priority port and freight projects through CalSTA; $30 million to support data system interoperability at California’s containerized ports through GO-Biz; An Emerging Projects Agreement between CalSTA and the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to help facilitate innovative projects and financing opportunities for a network of related supply chain infrastructure improvements.”
AJOT: What has California done to address continued delays by railroads moving containers off container terminals and on to rail cars?
Bradley: “The State continues to work across our agencies to support inland port development, offering alternatives to congestion port-side for our rail partners. This support is further acknowledged by the State Budget in the newly crafted Port and Freight Infrastructure Program at CalSTA, of which 30% of the $1.2 billion will be available to support high priority good movements projects outside of the San Pedro Port Complex inclusive of inland ports.
GO-Biz is actively engaging our rail partners on utilizing state incentive programs to supporting hiring and workforce development, such as the California New Employment Tax Credit, Employment Training Panel, the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, and others.”
AJOT: What is the plan to transition owner/operator harbor truckers to employees so as to conform with California’s AB-5 legislation?
Bradley: “GO-Biz continues to work with our Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA) and other state agencies to support the trucking industry. GO-Biz and the California Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA) have collaborated to create the California Trucking Incentive Guide, which includes over two dozen state incentive programs for the trucking industry to utilize. As well as the California Trucking Quick Start Guide, which outlines permitting and associate local/state/federal requirements for those seeking to establish their own independent small business motor carrier authority.”
AJOT: What progress is California making developing its Hydrogen Hub?
Bradley: “State agencies are actively working together on a Hydrogen Hub. In addition, the budget includes historic investments in hydrogen, example being over $80 million at the California Energy Commission (CEC) to support hydrogen refueling infrastructure for the deployment of zero emission drayage trucks.
GO-Biz continues to solicit inquiries from a range of hydrogen producers and proposals. GO-Biz supports them through our business investment services by performing confidential site selection for their hydrogen production plants and helping them navigate state incentive programs, example being last year when GO-Biz completed a confidential statewide site selection for a proposed 100 tons per day green hydrogen production plant.”
AJOT: What role did GOBIZ take working with agricultural exporters to address congestion problems at ports?
Bradley: “GO-Biz has worked alongside the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and other state agencies to support our agricultural industry, including a pop-up site at the Port of Oakland and freeing up state lands near Tracy and Stockton that are ample for export staging. The aforementioned agencies also continue to support our agricultural industry leaders, such as Blue Diamond, in listening to their challenges and discerning opportunities to remedy them.”
AJOT: What is the impact of President Biden's Infrastructure Law on relieving freight transportation congestion in California?
Bradley: “California is ecstatic for this historic investment the federal government has made on infrastructure, the largest new investment in decades. California, like other states, understands the multi-year runway that the Infrastructure Law has. And that these investments and their execution will not materialize immediately, they will be over time and will show signs through the supply chain at various points. However, the opportunity that has been presented is unprecedented and provides a one-time opportunity in history to align and couple this federal funding with equally historic state grant funding, innovative local public financing tools, and private partner capital to deliver on transformational and impactful projects that support freight and the supply chain. That is what many government agencies at all levels in this space are now actively doing.”
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